Freelancing is all about flexible work timings, the comfort of working from home, freedom to choose clients, multi-faceted exposure, control over your workload, and more. However, it comes with its own set of challenges. While you get to enjoy flexibility and freedom, you must learn to avoid distractions, manage time, and find a work environment that is conducive to work. Moreover, when you are working for a company, you are naturally presented with opportunities to grow, get appraisals and promotions, and move up in your career. When you are a freelancer, however, the onus your growth is entirely on yourself.
Sounds like a daunting task? Here are 10 effective ways to accelerate your personal growth as a freelancer.
Figure out a dedicated working space
Every freelancer needs a space of his/her own. Instead of working from your couch or bed, figure out a space where you can sit, focus, and work. Set up a table and keep good books, magazines, and a notepad. Set up a board where you can stick your to-do list, inspirational quotes or just random ideas. The space should keep you functional and keep you going, without letting lethargy set in. Alternatively, you can opt for a coworking space in your neighborhood. For instance, if you are living in the NCR, look for a shared office space in Noida, Gurgaon or Delhi.
Learn and upskill
As a freelancer, it is utmost important to keep educating and training yourself regularly. Enrol for online and offline courses, meet new people at public forums, read good books, subscribe to free educational open-source platforms, or get admission in educational programs. All these ensure that you stay updated with the latest trends, developments, and advancements in your field. This lets you maintain your market value and visibility and also enables you to deliver quality services.
Do not neglect health
Everything in life follows health. Being self-employed, you have the privilege to take breaks as often as you want to and include a habit of exercise or physical activity in your routine. Sitting for long durations or keeping your eyes fixated on your laptop screen for too long can have an adverse impact on your health. However urgent the delivery is or however passionate you are about completing the task at hand, make sure you are eating right and making endeavors to stay fit.
Manage your time effectively
Having no time is a myth. If you know how to make the right use of your time, the number of tasks to be done for a day will never haunt you. Make a schedule, create reasonable and realistic to-do lists, track the time you spend on each project, and more importantly, take a day off to unwind.
Choose your clients wisely
Often, freelancers accept any and every client that comes their way. This, however, can do more harm than good to your personal growth. Some clients, for want of a better word, are simply difficult to deal with. Make sure that you weigh the pros and cons of a project – in terms of time, earnings, the scope of work, revisions involved, portfolio, etc. – before you accept a client.
Review Your Rates
At the beginning of your freelancing career, you might offer your services at a rate much lower than the industry rates. This helps you attract more clients and find a steady financial footing. Once you are established, review your rates such that you get paid sufficiently for the quality you are offering to your clients.
Like in all other fields, it is important that you keep yourself visible in the freelancing industry. That’s why you must market yourself and your services the right way. Increase your presence in the field by creating a website/blog where you showcase your work, clientele, portfolio, etc. Also, look for ways to increase your social media presence through platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Networking is as important to a freelancer as it is to an entrepreneur or an office-going professional. Find ways to connect with people in your field and related fields. This is where coworking spaces come to a freelancer’s aid. For instance, when you are working out of a coworking space in Noida, you get opportunities to meet new people and connect with them. This might even help you find a few new clients.
Build strong relationships with existing clients
Clients are the cornerstone of every freelancer’s career. So start building strong professional relationships with your clients through the quality of services you offer. This will encourage them to come back to you and also refer you to their friends and acquaintances.
Diversify your offerings
While it is okay to start your freelancing career with one or two key services, you can certainly consider diversifying your offerings at a later stage. This can be done by exploring related areas and also by collaborating with others. For instance, if you are a copywriter who is also good at editing, consider offering editing and proofreading as a service. If you are a designer, you can collaborate with a copywriter and offer a complete package. Shared offices in Noida and other cities will give you opportunities for such collaborations.
Freelancing demands discipline, integrity, commitment, and endurance. Your dedication and continuous efforts to accelerate your personal growth can help you stay ahead in the industry.